X Marks the Spot for Special Event
PALESTINE-Members of a local chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy (SCV) have announced plans to host a Juneteenth celebration at the downtown Confederate Park and they hope a large number of the local black community will accept their public invitation. “We’ve been sprucing up the park, you know, getting ready for the big day,” one spokesman said, “we plan on serving fried chicken, BBQ ribs, collard greens, chitlins and of course ice-cold watermelon.” The spokesman said members will be dressed in the traditional Confederate gray uniform as they serve up a delicious meal to their black guests. “This is not something you would have seen back in 1861-65” one member noted, “we lost, we get it, it’s time to move on so I guess you could call this a day of role reversal and besides, it’s only one day, right?”
The park is located at the corner of West Oak and North Jackson, one block North of Spring Street. Members say the idea for the Juneteenth event came to them one evening as they sat at the base of the John H Reagan statue over in Reagan Park during the Memorial Day weekend, ‘Yeah, we were all sitting around drinking beer, wait a minute, don’t print that,” a spokesman said, “anyway, we were just talking about stuff in general, you know, like how Reagan had served under President Jefferson Davis in the Confederacy and was its first Postmaster General, and somebody looked up and noticed the outstretched left arm of Reagan, so we got to wondering what his arm was pointing at. Then it hits us! He’s pointing across the railroad tracks to the exact location of our recently constructed Confederate Veterans Park. We all fell out of our chairs, scrambled to get up and simultaneously, the eight of us, we scream Juneteenth party!”
Since then, members say they’ve been busy planning a full day of activities to honor the freed slaves. One member said he’d been practicing carrying a serving tray but kept tripping over the chains with every step, “White men got no talent for this sort of thing,” he stated, “But, my clumsiness was the basis for a skit we’ll be performing, a group of us trying to do chores while Aretha Franklin’s ‘Chain of Fools’ is playing in the background.”
The spokesman also said several other activities are planned including a one and half hour minstrel show highlighting the most well-known Negro Spirituals, including “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and “Gimme that Old Time Religion,” which were popular among the enslaved Negro population in the 1800s. Another popular attraction will be over at the Texas State Railroad which will be operating a “Freedom Train” excursion. Blacks will board free of charge while whites will pay top dollar for back of train seating, assuming they are allowed to board at all. For those not familiar with downtown Palestine, the spokesman advised visitors the Confederate Park is readily identified by the big blue “X” on the red flag, “X marks the spot,” he said, “and we’ll provide transporation to and from the train depot.”
As a final gesture of goodwill, the group says they’ll have a “reparations tip jar” set up beneath the big oak tree at the park and donations will go the United Negro College Fund.